It’s never easy to break up with somebody. You say you’ll be friends and you never call. You start an e-mail and click off it to look at a baseball score. Giving up is always easier than trying.
The Red Sox, for several years now, have liked to pretend their former star players fell off the face of the earth upon leaving Boston. Pedro, Manny, Johnny, the Hit Dog, Rocket, even lesser lights like Jason Bay. They leave via trade or free agency and are immediately painted as selfish cranks, injury risks or washed-up bums. Wade Boggs went from hitting savant to unbalanced crackpot overnight when he fled to the Yankees.
Who’s the last significant player to leave Boston with a smile? It might be Yaz or Dewey Evans. We’re a tough bunch.
From a business standpoint, it makes sense. I’d rather have cold-blooded Theo Epstein run the team that way than be a slave to sentiment. It’s always better to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late. But isn’t there a way to make it a little less painful?
So that’s why it was good to see Nomar Garciaparra sit with Epstein and Larry Lucchino today and make nice. Globe colleague Tony Massarotti put it well, it was a pretty ribbon on an empty package given their history. But at least both sides literally came to the table.
Lucchino told me that a ceremony of some sort would be held at Fenway Park this season to honor Nomar. Epstein wants him to come back and work with prospects in spring training. Maybe he can teach a class in adjusting your batting gloves.
The point is that it doesn’t always have to end ugly. If Nomar and Lucchino can pretend to get along, can’t we all pretend to get along?
That came out wrong. But you get the idea. Maybe, when it’s all said and done, the lasting piece of Nomar’s legacy in Boston will be that he made it OK to come back.
Here’s hoping Theo has a pile of those one-day contracts in his desk.
Do yourself a favor and check out all the Nomar coverage on Boston.com today. Matt Pepin and his crew did some serious bandwith damage today. You’ll find links on the main page, the sports page and here on Extra Bases.